NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police in Newark were searching Monday night for a man who allegedly stole a car that had been left unattended and running with a 2-year-old child inside.

Around 2:27 p.m., Newark police officers were called for a report of a carjacking at 146 Ferry St. Police said a 24-year-old woman from Union reported she had parked her car with her 2-year-old daughter sleeping inside to unload groceries at a relative’s house, and when she came back from a trip inside, her car was gone.

Officers found her car within minutes with the toddler still inside, less than 400 feet away on Adams Street, police said. The child, who appeared to be unharmed, was taken to University Hospital to be checked out, police said.

The woman’s cellphone was taken during the carjacking, police said.

The suspect was last seen headed north on Adams Street from Ferry Street, police said. He was described as a white male about 20 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds.

The suspect was wearing a red and white hat, a red, white and blue soccer jersey with Racco written on the front and back in white letters, black and white Adidas track pants and blue and white Nike sneakers, police said.

Newark Car Theft Suspect

Surveillance images of a man who police say stole a car with a 2-year-old inside in Newark. (Credit: Newark Police)

Police were critical of the victim’s choice to leave her daughter unattended in the car.

“This carjacking was preventable. Too often individuals needlessly engage in behavior which increases the likelihood of being a crime victim,” said Newark Director of Public Safety Anthony Ambrose. “This was a careless and reckless act which needlessly endangered her child. We have been cautioning the public about leaving their cars running and unattended. Approximately 32 percent of the cars stolen in Newark so far this year were left running.”

Ambrose added, “Everyone has to be thankful that this didn’t end with tragic results.”

Anyone with information was asked to call the Newark Police Crime Stopper tip line at (877) NWK-TIPS (695-8477) or (877) NWK-GUNS (695-4867). Those with information may also log onto the Newark police website, or download the new Newark police smartphone app.

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